Presented in partnership with the Trico Foundation

This week, Calgary comes alive with Beakerhead, the annual smash up of art, science and engineering. In the early days of the festival, people called it “Stampede For Geeks”, but since then it has evolved into world-renowned festival that celebrates a wonderful world filled with the people who work to make it better.

One of this year’s highlights will be Trico’s Social Entrepreneurship Day and the GenNext Beakerhead Mingles Event. They say good science is good for the world and these events will bring together an incredible array of partnerships, as some of planet’s most innovative and creative minds to offer a day filled with inspiration. They will show how they’re using that stunning brain matter to make our world a better place – and still meeting the bottom line!

Events like these wouldn’t be possible without the Trico Foundation, which is a private foundation that believes in supporting social entrepreneurship through programmatic, grant making, and partnership approaches. Their aid helps foster social entrepreneurship by supporting the ecosystem and providing social entrepreneurs with capacity building resources.

Both events are bringing fascinating social innovations right here to Calgary. These ideas will not only make you think about the power of the brain, but they are also changing the world.

Lucky Iron Fish

Over half of the world’s population suffers from an iron deficiency. The solution? Invite a tiny iron fish to live in your cooking pot!

This tiny fish is made from a particular type of iron and its shape, size and weight are calculated to release about 70 micrograms of iron per gram after boiling for 10 minutes in a litre of water. Since over half the world’s population suffers from an iron deficiency (yes, even here in Canada), this tiny fish is helping to make the world a better and healthier place for people all around the globe.


I love biking and I’ve been hearing about the VeloMetro for a while now. I can’t belive it’s coming to Calgary. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a single-person, electric-assist, solar-powered, networked and enclosed tricycle. Simply put, it’s the car version of a bike, but captures all the great things we love about biking. No helmet and no driver’s license are required which makes it perfect for both commuters and non-drivers, even in inclement weather. And here’s your fun fact” The distinctive look of the vehicle came from Calgary-based car designer Darren McKeage.

ShelterBox Canada

A few years ago, we were forced to leave our apartment for a week as the water from the mighty Bow River filled our garage and threatened our neighbourhood. We were lucky enough to have friends who gave us food and shelter, but for millions that survive natural disasters around they world, they aren’t always so lucky. This is why something like the ShelterBox is so important. It includes a disaster relief tent as well as cooking equipment, water purification equipment, blankets and more to people who have lost their home and all their belongings. ShelterKits contain heavy-duty tarpaulins and tools to help people to rebuild damaged structures so they can stay in their own homes.

Since ShelterBox was founded, it has responded to more than 270 disasters and humanitarian crises in over 95 different countries.

Survival Capsule

None of us will ever forget the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami, which took the lives of approximately 225,000 people. The tragedy inspired the Survival Capsule, is a personal safety system (PSS) designed as a spherical ball to protect against tsunami events, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and storm surges. For those who live near the ocean, such a tool is

Autism Glass

The Autism Glass Project seeks to provide individuals with challenges navigating social cues with a clinically validated therapeutic device to aid in interpreting facial expressions. The Autism Glass Project brought together some of the brightest minds in psychiatry, behavioral science, human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence to create an assistive tool for facial emotion recognition. It’s a life-changing innovation for those with autism and their families.


In times of disaster, one of the first things survivors lose is power, thus lighting. Which means that when the sun sets, they are often left in darkness until day light. The LuminAID is a solar-powered, inflatable light that packs flat and inflates to create a lightweight, waterproof lantern. Each Give Light, Get Light package purchased, sends a matching light to someone without access to electricity. It’s a simple idea with a huge impact, LuminAID is an inflatable solar light that packs flat.

With hundreds of recharge cycles, a design made for years of use, and its revolutionary ability to be easily transported, LuminAID is making waves in the lighting and renewable energy sector.

If you want to see these and other social innovations, be sure to check out Beakerhead’s Social Entrepreneurship Day.

Mike Morrison